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Old April 14th, 2011, 07:48 AM   #1
amyjoanna
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British Colonial Architecture in HK - Recent restorations?

Hey guys,

Would really love your help - and your opinions!

I'm currently working on my PhD, which is examining British attitudes to British colonial architecture in the former Empire. This of course includes the wonderful Hong Kong!

I know many in HK have battled to preserve this heritage (Queens Pier etc) and I know there have also been controversial 'renovations' of some old structures.

What I am trying to discover is:
  1. What restorations (completed, undergoing or planned) have been made recently in HK?
  2. Was there any public involvement in these projects (ie. protests, campaigning, fundraising)?
  3. Have the British assisted in these projects in any way (campaigning, funds, specialists, etc)? And,
  4. Who do the people of HK think should ultimately be responsible for this heritage (British, HKers, China, mix, none)?

Can any of you help?
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Old April 14th, 2011, 07:50 PM   #2
hkskyline
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Heritage 1881 - completed
Dedicated Thread : http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...?t=615725.html


Source : http://ecfoto.net/ansonkong/photo_sh...N0p_lUr0ITfwTQ

2. This was a private redevelopment with government approval. Not much protest beforehand although some criticism afterwards about the tree preservation, large amount of excavation, and high-end nature of the outcome.

3. No British help.

4. The current government should lead the way to preserve our history.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 01:41 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Heritage 1881 - completed
Dedicated Thread : http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...?t=615725.html

4. The current government should lead the way to preserve our history.
I was hoping you'd share your thoughts HKSkyline, you really seem to be the heart of all HK-based discussion in the forum and I appreciate your input!

You might be able to help me actually - do you recall whether there was any public British opinion about the Star Ferry or Queen's Pier demolitions?

I seem to remember reading somewhere that even a request made by the Queen (may have been another royal member) or the High Commission to save the structure had fallen on deaf ears?

I'm also wondering whether it would be viewed as hypocritical if the British started pushing for restoration of colonial-era construction now, given that during their time governing HK they actually oversaw some terrible demolitions themselves...
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Old April 15th, 2011, 01:43 AM   #4
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Academy's Landmark Heritage Campus

Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
By 3ASV196 from a Hong Kong discussion forum :





















Originally post here by hkskyline

1. Completed
2. Heard nothing about protest or opposition. It's a land transfer from private to the Government, and now leased (maybe granted, not sure) to the HK Academy for Performing Arts, a tertiary institution in HK established by the Government.
3. No British help.
4. The Government, and the public.

By the way, how "recent" are you interested?
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Old April 15th, 2011, 01:46 AM   #5
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What a beautiful building, it's fantastic to see it given new life!

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post

By the way, how "recent" are you interested?
In the case of HK, I think anything within the last ten or so years?

I don't want to go back into the period when the British were governing, because it sort of defeats the purpose of my research... although it is interesting to note the Brits didn't have the best track record when it came to preserving their own heritage in HK!
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Old April 15th, 2011, 01:47 AM   #6
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Former Stanley Police Station



1. Completed since the late 90s. It was a local police station, and now converted and leased to a Wellcome supermarket, a private company in HK.
2. No excessive objection that I have heard, but some do say it shouldn't be leased out.
3. No direct funding from the British.
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Last edited by EricIsHim; April 15th, 2011 at 02:05 AM.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 02:04 AM   #7
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Murray House
Formerly a British's military barrack in Central, dissembled in early 1980s to give way for business development in the area, where it is now the Bank of China.
Relocated and assembled back in the early 2000s in Stanley, now owned by the Government, managed by the Link, a Government owned property management company. It has a (soon to be relocated) museum on the ground level, and a few restaurants on the 2nd and 3rd floor.



1. Completed, ongoing renovation with new lease.
2. Can't tell, it has been so long since taken down, but probably didn't. Don't recall objection about putting it back up.
3. It was certainly the British's idea to save the building, and resemble it later in the future.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 02:18 AM   #8
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Legislative Council Building

Currently the Legislative Council Building, formerly the High Court Building of Hong Kong, it will soon turn into the Final Court of Appeal of Hong Kong,

image hosted on flickr

Source: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2451/...8ce75c88_o.jpg

1. Planned.
2. No objection.
3. No British involvement, all led by the current administration.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 02:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amyjoanna View Post
You might be able to help me actually - do you recall whether there was any public British opinion about the Star Ferry or Queen's Pier demolitions?

I seem to remember reading somewhere that even a request made by the Queen (may have been another royal member) or the High Commission to save the structure had fallen on deaf ears?

I'm also wondering whether it would be viewed as hypocritical if the British started pushing for restoration of colonial-era construction now, given that during their time governing HK they actually oversaw some terrible demolitions themselves...
There were some small opinions from the public British, but only limited from whose had stayed in HK during the colonial era, nothing came out from the government officially. Here was an article came out from BBC:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...6&postcount=66

IMHO, highly doubt the British government will ever push forward to promote colonial heritage saving in HK. This would be in violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration to let "Hong Kong People Governs Hong Kong," and somewhat challenging the sovereignty of China these days.

By the way, the Queen's Pier and Star Ferry didn't really have a lot of value in terms of British architecture, but the public wanted to save them because of the history behind them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amyjoanna View Post
In the case of HK, I think anything within the last ten or so years?

I don't want to go back into the period when the British were governing, because it sort of defeats the purpose of my research... although it is interesting to note the Brits didn't have the best track record when it came to preserving their own heritage in HK!
Colony was a colony, it wasn't the motherland, but a "robbed" place from the past for economic benefit. There was a quote to describe HK as a "borrowed place in borrowed time," meaning nothing needs to be left behind. It makes all sense to not invest any resource leaving the negative footprint behind.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 03:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amyjoanna View Post
I was hoping you'd share your thoughts HKSkyline, you really seem to be the heart of all HK-based discussion in the forum and I appreciate your input!

You might be able to help me actually - do you recall whether there was any public British opinion about the Star Ferry or Queen's Pier demolitions?

I seem to remember reading somewhere that even a request made by the Queen (may have been another royal member) or the High Commission to save the structure had fallen on deaf ears?

I'm also wondering whether it would be viewed as hypocritical if the British started pushing for restoration of colonial-era construction now, given that during their time governing HK they actually oversaw some terrible demolitions themselves...
Sure - my thoughts :

Heritage 1881's redevelopment was too drastic, as it involved excavating most of the hill the building was on, while keeping the trees suspended above on huge planters. It's an eerie sight and quite out-of-place, and I doubt the huge trees that are probably a century old now can last within these confines. Recent surveys have found some deterioration in their health.

While the site itself is quite beautiful now that they've fixed it up, I agree turning it into a high-class venture keeps most of the crowds away, and it is still enjoyable to walk the grounds. I don't recall the British had much say in this. Historic preservation in HK nowadays is primarily driven by locals. The British were never good at preserving their colonial heritage to begin with. I doubt they even had the mandate to do so anyway. They demolished the best buildings during their rule (ie. GPO).
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Old April 17th, 2011, 03:21 PM   #11
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Don't think the British had anything to do with any recent architectural preservation after handover. In any case, why fund the preservation of, say, a 30s British-style building in HK when they could use that money to preserve what's in the UK?
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Old April 18th, 2011, 12:44 AM   #12
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It's up to HKers to voice their desire to preserve historic items. In the colonial days, this desire did not exist as the society had not matured economically (the middle class had not developed). In other words, people were too focused on food and survival to care about history.

Today, the movement is stronger than ever before, but I don't think Britain would have anything to do with preservation efforts--preservation policies are enacted by government, and UK does not currently have any jurisdiction. Because HK governs itself internally, I think almost all of the responsibility and interest lie within its residents and government, and not any party external to HK itself.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 05:30 PM   #13
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There's a website in Chinese with photos and descriptions of historic buildings, including those from the British colonial era. Unfortunately, there's no English version, but at least there are some photos of more unique buildings :

http://www.hk-place.com/view.php?id=218
http://www.hk-place.com/view.php?id=234
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 06:07 AM   #14
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wow its amazing and beautiful structure i hope one day i could step righ their
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